Jonas Benson is Principal Violist of Sarasota Opera and St. Petersburg Opera and plays with the Florida Orchestra. He has served as Acting Assistant Principal of the Florida Orchestra and Principal of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, is a member of the Peninsula Music Festival orchestra, and performs regularly with every major ensemble in the Tampa Bay area. Benson has also performed with the Pleiades Ensemble, EnsembleNewSRQ, Naples Philharmonic, Sarasota Orchestra, New World Symphony, 42nd Parallel, International Chamber Artists, Omaha Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists, and many other respected ensembles.
Benson was a founding member of the Sheridan String Quartet and frequently performs chamber music. As a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago’s MusiCorps, he brought chamber music to schools and parks throughout Chicago and led sectionals for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. He has played in committed chamber groups throughout his career, and notable collaborations include a guest piano quartet recital at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, and a concert with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the Symphony Center Presents chamber music series.
Benson has given numerous recitals and has appeared as a soloist with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra and the Quincy Choral Society. He frequently performs music by living composers and gave the United States premier of Dobrinka Tabakova’s Suite in Old Style for viola, strings, and harpsichord. As a student, he won awards in the Schubert Club’s Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition, the Thursday Musical Young Artist Scholarship Competition, and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition; and he was awarded the William Hester Memorial Scholarship.
Benson has a private viola studio and is a coach for the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra’s Quartet Project. He has also coached at Birch Creek Music Academy and the Florida Southern College String Camp, and has led rehearsals and sectionals for several college orchestras.
Benson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, both in Viola Performance. His primary teachers were Laurie Bastian, Tom Turner, and Roland Vamos. Jonas Benson plays a viola made by Marinos Glitsos.
An interview with viola soloist Jonas Benson - Perfect Duluth Day